The Boston Red Sox are about to add another top Cuban prospect to their organization, according to rumors yet to be confirmed by the team. Twenty-eight-year-old second baseman Yoilán Cerce has finalized a contract with the team, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported on Friday.
Sources: Cuban second baseman Yolian Cerse & Red Sox closing in on a minor league deal.
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) May 15, 2015
The Red Sox Cuban scouting program has been busy since Ben Cherington took over as Boston general manager, it appears. The signing of Cerce, who played for the Guantanamo Indios of Cuba’s National Series, follows the 2014 signing of outfielder Rusney Castillo and the acquisition earlier this year of 19-year-old super-prospect, Yoan Moncada.
Cerce, who has spent the past year living in Haiti, reportedly staged workouts for eight Major League teams, according to a report by Comcast.net Red Sox correspondent Sean McAdam, who added that Boston views Cerce as a versatile utility player in the mold of current “super sub” Brock Holt, capable of playing multiple infield and outfield positions and bringing a burst of speed off the bench.
Unlike the signings of Castillo for $72.5 million and Moncada who cost a reported $31.5 million, the inking of Yoilán Cerce will cost the Red Sox relatively little. Because of his age and previous experience — nine years in the Cuban league — Cerce was not entitled to the same type of signing bonus as younger international players.
The Red Sox view Cerce as a potential base-stealing threat, McAdam reported, even though the five-foot, nine-inch, 170-pounder never swiped more than 10 bags in a Cuban league season — which at just 90 games is 72 games shorter than Major League Baseball season.
But Cerce normally batted in the third spot for Guantanamo, limiting his stolen base opportunities. In nine Cuban seasons, Cerce put up solid 325/.395/.468 line, but his power hitting prowess declined in his final couple of seasons in Cuba.
The Red Sox have not announced the signing of Yoilán Cerce, but are expected to confirm the rumors next week after Cerce undergoes a physical exam. What Boston will do with Cerce this season is uncertain, though it seems unlikely that he will see time in Boston in 2015. Cerce is still working himself back into baseball condition in Fort Myers, Florida, after not playing competitively since 2012. After that, he is expected to be assigned to one of Boston’s Single-A minor league affiliates.
[Image: Cuba Debate]